Oracle Database Management Strategic Directions

1. Best Practices for managing Oracle database servers.
2. Oracle Fusion Middleware products like J2EE, ADF, XML, BPEL, SOA, Web Services, Discoverer...).
3. Oracle Application Servers and Apache.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Top Trends in Oracle Environments

The one consistent part of the Oracle world is that it is constantly changing. How are you changing in this dynamic environment to make sure you stay marketable in the future. Here is a list of trends I see going on in the Oracle world.
  • VLDBs - Oracle databases are getting larger and larger. There is more complexity in managing very large databases running RAC, Data Guard, Streams. Storage and security are playing a larger role as well. People with strong skills sets in VLDBs are going to increase in demand.
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware - This going to be a great area to expand in. People with skills in SOA, BPEL, BAM, ESB, Web Services, J2EE, ADF, JSF and XML are going to increase significantly in demand. The issue here is Oracle Fusion Applications are not rolling out yet. This demand is coming in the future. So there is time for you to get up to speed to take advantage of this future hot area.
  • Application Server Administrators - People that can manage the middle tier are just as important as the Oracle DBAs. The Oracle Application Server, BEA, WebSphere are all complex applications that require a lot of skill to manage successfully.
  • Application DBAs - People with DBA experience that can work with middleware developers and application server environments.
  • Managing Complexity - People with strong skill sets in Grid Control or Quest and that can manage multiple tiers of an Oracle environment from the database server to the application server are going to increase in demand. DBAs that contribute more to the business versus heads down DBAs that just write scripts are needed more than ever.
  • Hetergenous environments - DBAs that can manage multiple database platforms such as SQL Server, MySQL and DB2 are going to be in strong demand.
  • Security - Security is playing a larger role every day. Experts in the area are going to be able to name their price.
  • Open Source - The LAMP stack is playing a larger role. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are having almost exponential growth.
There is a summary podcast at Trujillo. At the site, click on Oracle Podcasts.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maximize your ROI at the Collaborate 2008 Conference

The Oracle users conference, Collaborate 2008 is coming up. It's one of highest ROIs you can get for your Oracle training dollar. Just like anything else you do that is successful, plan on how you can maximize your attendance at a conference. If you don't attend conferences on a regular basis here are a few things you can do to maximize your experience:
  1. Volunteer! Best way to meet new people and feel a part of the conference.
  2. Join! There are often Special Interest Groups (SIGs) or other groups within a conference that try to bring people with common interests together.
  3. Introduce yourself! Try to meet as many people as you can at the conference. Challenge yourself to meet as many people as you can as possible. Ask them questions like: What's the best presentation you've attended so far? Are there any speakers you really like and would recommend to someone new to a conference attend? What area are you focusing on at the conference? A conference is the best way to work on your communication and networking skills. Buy a book on networking and try some of the techniques. If you are new to the conference no one knows you, what do you have to lose? Ask them about what environments they are running? What challenges are they having with their technology?
  4. Attend get togethers! Every conference has breakfast, unconference and birds of a feather meetings and other ways to network. If one doesn't work out, don't get discouraged. Remember you don't know anyone there how can you make a mistake.
  5. Business cards! Bring business cards and everyone you meet give them a business card. Who knows, someone might even give you there card. :)
  6. Prepare! Get organized. There are tons of great books, blogs, and Internet information on 10 ten tips for introducing yourself, networking and socializing. Try them.
  7. Submit! Submit a presentation. Awesome way to expand your comfort level and for people to get to know you. Most important thing people want at a conference is to learn from other people's experiences. You don't have to be a top expert. Do not underestimate what you have to say?
I consider myself a pretty social person. However, I remember when I first starting going to conferences it was pretty lonely. I wasn't comfortable walking up and talking to people. The first birds of a feather meeting I went to, I walked in the door, everybody looked up at me, I froze and I walked out. I realized I was too shy but was too embarrassed to walk back in. It can get really lonely if it seems everybody else knows each other.

Since then I have ran different areas of a conference, been on expert panels, given key note presentations and been on board of directors for conferences. All of these things occurred because I was willing to push myself past my comfort zone and began to submit papers for presenting and to join different groups at conferences.

Networking is always rated first or second in terms of benefits for people that attend conferences. If you would like to increase your networking skills I would recommend you read the book "Million Dollar Networking" by Andrea Nierenberg. This will give you a lot of great ideas, recommendations and things to say to greatly increase your networking skills. You are going to spend thousands of dollars to attend the conference, why not spend another $30 and maximize the networking you can do.

Everybody attending a conference has been in your shoes. Go introduce yourself to volunteers or speakers. Ask them about ways to maximize the time at the conference and what speakers they like to see. All volunteers I guarantee you want you to have fun and enjoy the conference and they know what its like to go to a conference for the first time. Most importantly, find out if any conference volunteers are around, they are some of the coolest, most enjoyable and high energetic people you'll find at the conference. :)

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Right Strategy for Customers

There have been significant trends and changes in the IT industry. Some of them include:

* Main Frame systems
* Client/Server
* Distributed systems
* Multi-tiered platforms with application servers
* Open Source

It's important to understand each of these is a technology to help meet business goals. Open source is currently an area of high growth and interest in the industry. The cost benefits provide organizations with a lot of flexibility in how they put their infrastructures together. Global markets and competition are putting even more pressure on IT organizations to make the right decisions.

I was talking to a friend about what organizations are doing with open source strategies. The result of the conversation ended with it is not about an open source strategy. It is more about developing the "right customer strategy" and if and how open source can play a role in helping a customer meet their business objectives and goals.

I've always felt as a DBA/manager, the more options I have the better decisions I can make. Including open source solutions in the decision process helps make sure customers are looking at their overall strategy in addressing challenges they are facing. No one technology solution is the best solution for every problem that exists. Oracle Enterprise Edition, Oracle Standard Edition, Oracle Express, MySQL, Oracle Application Server, Apache, JBoss, BEA, Eclipse, JDeveloper, Linux, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc. all have features that can leverage what customers are trying to do. I have nothing against Windows or IBM it has just been my preference to work with Oracle and MySQL environments. Oracle and BEA have played well in the large enterprise commercial environments. MySQL has played well in Internet and web applications. For anyone to say other vendors do not provide a good solution is pretty closed minded. What I like to do is understand what a customer is trying to do and weigh the pros and cons and let them make the decision that is best for customer.

Most companies are running different types of applications.
  • Java and SOA are extremely scalable and powerful solutions that are great when those benefits are needed.
  • APEX is a strong Oracle solution that does not need application servers but it does require an Oracle database. APEX can be a very strong solution for Oracle Forms and Reports and legacy client/sever applications that are looking to move to a web based environment.
  • Ruby on Rails and PHP are great for web based applications that do not need a lot of database features.
I have been very impressed with the feature/functionality of Oracle Express. I have not tried to deploy this in a production environment but in small case scenarios it has been really impressive. Especially if you are a technical Java or XML person.
  • Oracle Express and APEX can provide a strong low cost web solution.
There are current and future costs and ramifications associated with hardware, database, application server and application development decisions. Linux, APEX, Oracle Express, Oracle SQL Developer, Apache, JBoss, Ruby on Rails, PHP and SOA are providing more options than ever.
Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oracle Berkeley DB

At the RMOUG conference I was able to get a more detailed look at Oracle's Berkeley DB. I have to admit it is very coooool. I seen some XML demos using Oracle Berkeley DB and it was like waving a bone in front of a wolf's nose, it got my attention. The Oracle Berkeley DB, Oracle Berkeley DB XML and Oracle Berkeley DB Java Edition are all things that really interest the technologist in me. Right now Oracle Berkeley DB cannot compete with everything MySQL brings to the table in terms of commercial and business solutions but the developer in me really wants to play with this tool.
Friday, February 15, 2008

RMOUG 2008: MySQL and Oracle Fusion Middlware Presentations

I gave two presentations at RMOUG this year. I have retired from doing presentations at technical conferences but I had to pay a debt for crashing the RMOUG party last year. Doing a presentation was the price I had to pay. :) In all honesty, I really just wanted to help to contribute to the RMOUG because they are an excellent local Oracle user group and I wanted to help support them in any way possible. RMOUG gives out some of the coolest shirts, so I may try to come back next year to get one of the cool volunteer shirts they gave out to everyone.

My two presentations were on:
Understanding the MySQL Architecture for Oracle DBAs
  • This is a fast paced presentation focused on showing Oracle DBAs and Developers key features and benefits of using MySQL and the LAMP stack for projects. Topics will focus on: best practices for configuring a MySQL database server, understanding key differences between Oracle and MySQL and OFA versus MOCA. Attendees will also be introduced to MySQL replication and Cluster configurations. This is an excellent bootstrap presentation for developers and DBAs that may be looking at using MySQL and the LAMP stack for future projects.
  • Audience: Developers and DBAs
  • Summary: A bootstrap presentation focused on showing Oracle DBAs and developers key features of MySQL and the LAMP stack.
Demystifying Middleware Technologies
  • This presentation is designed to demystify popular Middleware technologies and explain how these technology components work together. Topics include: J2EE, Application Servers, Web Services, XML, Application Frameworks, WSDL, BPEL, SOA and business rule engines. Attendees will learn how each of these different Middleware components work together in application servers. This is an important presentation for developers and DBAs who would like to learn more about the middle-tier.
There is a podcast summary of the Demystifying Middleware Technologies presentation at Go to this site and then select Oracle Podcasts.

I really enjoyed giving both of these presentations. I always shoot from the hip when I give presentations and let my mood and the mood of the audience determine the focus of the presentation. The MySQL presentation got a lot of enthusiasm from the Oracle DBAs because whenever I discuss the MySQL database server, Oracle DBAs are always really surprised by how much it can do and why it is growing in popularity. So this presentation was very upbeat and high energy. The Middleware presentation was more of a fireside chat on what are important things to understand about middleware technology that is not in the documentation and in the books but you really need to understand.

I thank the attendees who laughed at my jokes even when they weren't funny. :)


RMOUG - Excellent Ending, Now on to Collaborate 2008 in Denver

RMOUG ended yesterday, it was an excellent conference. There were a lot of excellent presentations. Conference highlights for me include:
  • Rich Niemiec's presentation "All Uncommon Leaders" was one of the best presentations I've ever seen in my life. I've been going to business and technical conferences for about 15 years and listening to great speakers such as Gene Kranz (NASA flight director), Henry Kissinger, etc. and Rich is in the upper echelon of outstanding inspirational speakers. Way to go Rich!
  • There were excellent presentations on Fusion Middleware, APEX, XQuery, etc.
  • Congratulations to the speakers from Raytheon, every presentation I went to from the Raytheon team was outstanding.
  • Noticed significant change in trends in topics selected and focus of presenters. When you looked at the presentation topics and how full the rooms were, you were definitely able to see where the interest resides in the Oracle user community.
  • RMOUG continues to attract the top presenters in the industry, naming a few: Thomas Kyte, Jonathan Lewis (met for the first time), Peter Koletzke, Paul Dorsey, Tim Gorman, John King, Duncan Mills, Michael Ault, Steve Lemme, Don Burleson, etc. I don't mean to leave anyone out these are just the list of people I have seen speak in the last year. Speaking to any of these excellent speakers is definitely worth its weight in gold.
It just continues to boogle my mind that local companies do not send more people to conferences like RMOUG and the IOUG. With all the complexity of database and development environments it's amazing that companies will not send more employees to listen to the top industry leaders for a few hundred dollars. Oh well, it was a great conference for me.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

RMOUG Training Days - February 13, 14 2008 in Denver, CO

The Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group (RMOUG) an alliance group with the IOUG every year puts on an outstanding conference in Denver, CO. This conference is one of the best returns on investment for training you can get anywhere in the world. This years agenda looks fantastic as always. When looking at the agenda, topics that stand out to me:
  • Lots of presentations on Oracle Database 11g New Features.
  • Application Express (APEX).
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware.
  • XML.
  • Security.
  • Oracle development.
RMOUG as always brings together some of the top industry leaders and presenters in the United States. The agenda for this year's training days looks fantastic as always. The leaders of RMOUG understand how to put on a great conference. If in the Denver area try to attend, I believe this is one of the don't miss training opportunities of the year. RMOUG always makes you feel welcome and creates a create atmosphere.

The conference always starts with the speaker and volunteer reception. We hope to see you there.

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